Meet the Faculty

Meet the Faculty

James Barnes

James Barnes Head ShotJames Barnes is an environmental scientist and educator. He provides technology,
classroom and partnership support for James Madison University’s X-Labs and is an adjunct professor in ISAT and SADAH.  His work address wicked problems, particularly at the intersection of the triple bottom line (social, economic and environmental). James has led new initiatives for the U.S. Forest Service, The Piedmont Environmental Council and The Nature Conservancy. He holds a B.S. in Biology & B.A. in Psychology from N.C. State and an M.S. from the University of Vermont. Banjo playing is his preferred distraction.

Dr. S. Keith Holland

S. Keith Holland is an associate professor and the assistant academic head for the Department of Engineering at James Madison University. He enjoys challenging students to employ creative and entrepreneurial thought when crafting solutions to technical challenges. Keith earned his Ph.D. in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from the University of Virginia. Prior to joining the faculty at JMU, he served as the Vice President for Research and Development at Avir Sensors, LLC – a startup venture that produced optoelectronic devices for military and domestic security applications.

Dr. Erica Lewis

Dr Erica LewisErica Lewis is a registered nurse. Her research expertise is in safety and ethics in medicine; as well as research of student learning outcomes related to ethical reasoning and design thinking. Dr. Lewis co-created and instructs a medical innovations course where nursing, engineering, and pre-professional health students work together in a MakerSpace to solve community health problems. She completed Hack for Defense (H4D) instructor training and is an instructor in the H4D course at James Madison University. Dr. Lewis loves work, life, and solving problems.

Dr. Patrice Ludwig


Patrice Ludwig’s formal training is in conservation and population ecology from James Madison University and the University of Virginia, but she regularly ventures into concepts that are tangentially related, such as using artificial substrates to restore oyster reefs in the Chesapeake Bay. Patrice focuses much of her teaching in JMU’s Department of Biology on facilitating student development of critical and creative thinking by designing opportunities for students to work in teams both within and across disciplines. She is a self-described educational entrepreneur and “door-opener”. When she isn’t juggling projects, she is juggling three daughters and her husband.

Dr. Seán McCarthy


Seán is an assistant professor in the School of Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communication at James Madison University. His teaching and research are situated at the intersection of community engagement and digital literacy studies, and he is particularly interested in how writing and digital media production inform and transform transdisciplinary university-community partnerships in local, national, and international contexts. He has served as a faculty associate with JMU’s Center for Instructional Technology (now Innovation Services) and is currently a university Entrepreneurship Faculty Fellow. Seán co-designed and co-teaches an annual institute for faculty in digital humanities pedagogy at JMU and is involved in several university-wide initiatives that promote community and civic engagement.

Deborah Pugh

Deborah Pugh is an Instructor in L&ET’s Innovation Services and manager of MADLab: the Media MindSpace. She provides technical support and instruction on video editing software and equipment for video and multimedia projects. In addition, she coordinates with faculty to teach workshops, customized to their digital projects. She also designs instructional web and print materials for video and graphic design software and use of video and photographic equipment.Deborah received her B.S. in Sociology, A.A.S. in Electronics Technology, and M.F.A. in Creative Writing from George Mason University. She has experience in teaching writing and literature at the university level and in training and development including the design and production of technical manuals and training curriculums. Before coming to JMU, she worked in public high school, teaching photojournalism, photography, graphic design, video production, and English.

Nick Swayne

swayneNick Swayne, LTC (R), MPA, is the Executive Director of 4-Virginia, the 4-VA Campus Coordinator at JMU, and faculty in Learning Technology and Leadership Education at James Madison University. In his capacity as Director, he leads the coordination of the five partner institutions (GMU, JMU, UVA, ODU, VT) in meeting the mission to promote collaborations that leverage the strengths of each partner university and improve the efficiency and economic impact of higher education across the Commonwealth. He is particularly interested in developing cutting edge, applied courses that bring multiple disciplines and institutions together to solve real-world problems. He is a retired Army officer with 26 years of service, the founder of the JMU X-Labs, faculty advisor for the University Innovation Fellows, the Executive Director of Virginia-DC FIRST LEGO League, a doctoral candidate in the School of Strategic Leadership, and was recently elected to his third term on the Harrisonburg City School Board where he serves as Vice-Chair.

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